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Talk Is Cheap: Earning Forgiveness Through Proper Apology:

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Growing up my mother always use to say, I don’t want you to merely “say”, you are sorry, I want you to mean it, and show me that you are.

What’s ironic is that we all take for granted the powerful intentions behind two little words that our society applies to just about every situation in a cavalier manner. From the most egregious offense to accidentally bumping into someone, “I’m Sorry” has become our generation’s catchall; exonerating phrase that we believe will cleanse us of our “indiscretions”.

Sorry folks, but according to experts, in order for an apology to hold any cadence, it must be an earnest expression of a sincere sentiment. Yet, professionals point out that owning up to our errors is one of the most difficult things to do. Yet, they profess that acknowledging your responsibility, and seeking and asking for forgiveness not only benefits the offended individual but also helps you make peace with yourself.

The following are basic guidelines for implementing an appropriate apology

1. Live Up To Your Responsibility: Don’t justify, rationalize or project blame onto someone or something else. Remember, we all have control over how we act. Acknowledge that you’re at fault, caused pain, and take the blame that belongs, rightfully, to you.

2. Own Your Error: Fully accept that you were wrong and that you realize the un-necessary aggravation, pain, and hurt you brought about. Showing this kind of understanding offers the other person confidence that you are not merely offering an obligatory apology but are in fact aware of your offensive actions and their detrimental effects.

3. Be Explicit: Experts recommend avoiding simply apologizing for your behavior. Be specific about which actions you are most concerned about and the impact (you feel) they had. This allows the other party to feel comfortable about you assessing and examining the situation and offering them the confidence that you will try to curb it, or get professional assistance to deal with it.

4. The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth: Be honest with yourself and the person you’ve hurt about EXACTLY what you’ve done wrong. Examine and discuss the root of the problem, as well as, potential alternatives and solutions. Show the other party that you’ve considered the gravity of your actions and WHY it triggered such a negative response. This in-depth understanding offers confidence about your sincere desire to get to the root of the situation and move forward without ever looking back or repeating your actions

5. Let Your Guard Down: Be prepared to have the other individual express their disappointment, frustration, even anger. According to experts, refrain from getting offended or defensive. Remember, YOU were the initial instigator. The other person’s feelings are valid and legitimate, and they have a right to be angry with you. Offer them that right and make it a priority to make your apology heartfelt.

6. Avoid Conditional Apologies: Refrain from “qualifying” your apology based on only certain things you felt where hurtful. Place yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to understand how what you did or said affected them. Experts also suggest avoiding words and phrases such as but, if, and, but.

7. If At First You Don’t Succeed: Apologize more than once if you have to say experts, especially if the offense is “serious” enough and the person needs a little extra convincing. Wait for the right time and choose your words wisely. Consider also gestures that will exhibit your sincerity.

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